We all remember doing jumping jacks in gym class when we were kids. But although jumping jacks might strike you as childish, they’re actually a great form of aerobic exercise. In addition to getting your heart rate up, they can effectively work the muscles of your calves, upper legs, shoulders and torso. Here are two variations on the garden variety jumping jack which will allow you to specifically focus on either the endurance or strengthening aspect of this versatile exercise!
Jumping Jack Variations
Half Jumping Jack for Cardio
This version of the jumping jack is geared toward a more intense cardiovascular workout. Start out in traditional jumping jack body positioning. As you begin the exercise, instead of extending your arms and legs fully, only raise your arms to shoulder height and spread your legs to shoulder distance apart before retracting your limbs back in toward the body. Aim to do “half jacks” at about twice the speed of a normal jumping jack.
Pushup Jumping Jack for Strength
Begin in plank position at the top of a pushup with the arches of your feet touching and your arms shoulder width apart. Now push off with your toes, “jumping” your legs out to shoulder distance apart. Now lower through the first half of a pushup. As you push back up to plank position, “jump” your legs back into their original position. For added difficulty and strengthening, “jump” your arms into a spread position at the same time as your legs.